Presidential Promises and Legacies in the 2020 Election
There are few events that are more volatile than the upcoming presidential elections.
There are a lot of recent occurrences that put a lot more at stake than in usual election years. However it is always important to come out of the emotion of political fervor and look at the actual policies and promises for both candidates. For instance, under President Trump a bipartisan legislation known as the FUTURE Act was passed, which permanently allocated $255 million in yearly stem funding to minority serving colleges and $85 million of that is specifically for historically black colleges and universities. Another positive move by the trump administration is when Betsy Devos, infamous education secretary, canceled the repayment of more than $300 million in federal relief loans taken out by several hbcus as a result of hurricane Katrina. However there is federal data that shows that hbcus have seen less and less competitive grant money during the Trump administration. According to the national center for science and engineering statistics, federal support to HBCUs has declined 17%.
On the other end of things Joe Biden’s track record with hbcus isn’t perfect either. The first budget during the Obama administration , which was notably during the height of the Great Recession essentially cut hbcu funding by $73 million. However the then executive director for hbcus in the White House , Ivory Toldson, said it was important to note that there is a lot that the president had tried to include in the budget for hbcus that a contentious congress may have taken out. The biggest problem President Obama causes HBCUs as well as higher education in general was when his administration's department of education made changes to the parent plus loan program that made it harder for parents with lower credit scores as is more common in African American and low income communities, to qualify for loans. This adversely affected African American students initially, though in a scramble to rectify that the administration made changes so that 98% of said students were eventually approved for their loans.
That being said, the mistakes of the Obama administration may not necessarily be the mistakes of the possible Biden administration. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris , being an Hbcu graduate herself, pitched a plan by Biden to black enterprise, called build back better, which would be a plan for much needed economic recovery and racial equality. Part of the plan to to cancel $10,000 of student loan debt for those who have borrowed federal student loans as well as to make public colleges as well as private hbcus tuition free for families that make up to $125,000 annually. This as well as a plan to give $15,000 refundable tax credit for first time homebuyers , could be pivotal in helping young people, especially young black people recover from the economic detriment that we are currently in. It is important to make the right choice as it pertains to this election, because the right and or wrong leadership could affect every aspect of our lives including our education.